Bearwallow Baptist Church and Cemetery

The Bearwallow Baptist Church was organized May 9, 1868.
The first building was a log structure.
In the mid-1890s a structure was built about 4/10 of a mile east of the present location in Gerton.
The Flood of 1916 cut off access to the building and caused some minor damage.
The church at its present location off U.S. 74 in Gerton was built in 1922. Additions were added in 1957 and the steeple was built in 1963.
The church cemetery is located at a separate site on Bearwallow Cemetery Road.
There is a Revolutionary War memorial to John Merrell (1757-1833) at the cemetery. The actual burial site of John Merrell is at the Merrell-Patton Cemetery in the Fairview community of Buncombe County. Merrell owned land in the present day communities of Fairview in Buncombe County and Gerton in Henderson County. He fought at the Battle of Briar Creek in Georgia under Gen. Rutherford, and later at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, where he was wounded in the head causing the loss of one eye.
The monument in the cemetery also recognizes Jacob Merrell (1785-1857), a son of John Merrell. Other sons of John Merrell died in Buncombe County, Alabama and Georgia. His daughters married persons with the surnames of Garren, Owens, Maxwell, Roberts, Edney and Patton.
For more information on John Merrell, visit
The grave site of Lee Roumles Bradley, who died in World War II, is located in the cemetery. Bradley was a corporal with the Army’s 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division. He was killed in action July 12, 1944, in Operation Cobra of the Normandy Campaign, seven weeks after the D-Day invasion. He was born in Rutherford County, the son of Eli Grady Bradley and Minnie Johnson Bradley. He lived in Henderson County on all censuses. He was working at Sayles Bleacheries in Biltmore when he enlisted in 1941 from Henderson County.
There are four men from Henderson County who served in Confederate regiments during the Civil War with graves in the cemetery.
Larkin H. Freeman enlisted in the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. A, Edney’s Greys, on 3-14-1862. He served through the war. He died after 1900.

Spencer M. Freeman enlisted in the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. A, Edney’s Greys, on 4-16-1864. He surrendered 4-9-1865 at Appomattox Court House. He died in 1935.
John H. Suttles enlisted in the 60th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. D, Henderson Rangers, on 7-10-1862. He was reported sick in the hospital in late 1862. He was reported sick several times in 1863. He was reported present in late winter and spring 1864. He was in the hospital in June 1864 and absent sick through 8-31-1864. There are no further military records. He died in 1892.
Riley Hubert Wall enlisted in the 16th Regiment N.C. Troops (6th Regiment N.C. Volunteers), Co. N, in March 1862. N.C. Troops does not have information on his service with this unit. On 6-19-1862 this unit was assigned to the 56th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. I. He was transferred while absent wounded. The wound occurred near Petersburg, Va., on an unspecified date, probably at the Battle of Seven Pines (Battle of Fair Oaks) during the Peninsula Campaign. He later wrote: “For hours I lay on the battlefield with an open bulging wound. Just when my plight seemed utterly hopeless, someone came along and carried me to the hospital.” He reported for duty with the 56th N.C. Infantry Regiment prior to 9-1-1862. He was wounded in the head between 4-18-1864 and 4-20-1864 at the Battle of Plymouth in Washington County, N.C. He returned to duty prior to 7-1-1864. He surrendered 4-9-1865 at Appomattox Court House. His brother, Simeon I. Wall, was killed 12-18-1864 by a sharpshooter in the trenches near Petersburg, Va. Both soldiers were on the 1860 census in Rutherford County. Riley Hubert Wall married in 1865 in Henderson County and his parents and siblings had moved to Henderson County before 1865. He died in 1940 at the age of 99 in Henderson County. At the time of his death, he was survived by only 29 N.C. Confederate veterans.
The oldest graves in the cemetery are those of Patsy Freeman who died March 5, 1845; and Joseph Lola Freeman, son of J.H. and L.D. Freeman, 1862-1863.
Persons whose families were early settlers in the community with the surnames of Bradley, Conner, Freeman, Grant, Huntley, McAbee, Merrell, Morrison, Oates, Owensby, Pryor, Rhodes, Searcy, Sinclair, Suttles and Wall have grave sites in the cemetery.